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Learn the Warning Signs of Parkinson’s disease

Previously known as shaking palsy, Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes loss of muscle control. This chronic and progressive movement neurological disorder continues to worsen over time. According to the data, it has been reported that more than one million people are living with Parkinson’s disease in the USA. Although no permanent cure is reported for this disease, there are various treatment options to manage its symptoms.

Progression of Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease progression varies from individual to individual. This is a chronic disease that progresses slowly and the symptoms can worsen over a period of time. While Parkinson is not termed as a fatal disease, the way it progresses can vary in individuals.

 

    • With the variation of movement symptoms, the rate of progress differs.

 

    • Some symptoms are more bothersome than others.

 

    • People suffering from Parkinson’s disease live with the symptoms for years.

 

  • About 8% of cases are reported by people belonging to age group of 40 to 50 years.

Parkinson’s disease Symptoms
The early signs of this neurological disorder are subtle and are often confused with other neurological diseases. However, the signs change with the progression of the disease. Here, it must be remembered that symptoms that a person experiences during the early stages of Parkinson may differ from symptoms that another person gets. Some of the common symptoms include:

 

    • Tremors or shaking of arms, legs and hand

 

    • Aching and stiff muscles

 

    • Weakness of throat and face muscles

 

    • Freezing or inability to move

 

    • Stiffness or Difficulty in balancing

 

  • Small, crowded handwriting

Other symptoms beyond movement include:

 

    • Daytime fatigue or restlessness

 

    • Slurred speech

 

    • Confusion, memory problem or dementia

 

    • Difficulty in swallowing

 

  • Constipation

Risk Factors
Different diseases often come with their own set of risk factors. Have a risk factor mean that your chances of acquiring a problem increase. Parkinson disease often comes with hard to identify risk factors because the underlying cause of the disease is still unknown.

 

  • Getting old

Advancing age is number one risk factor for acquiring this disease. This is because people after the age of 50 get affected by this disease. However, in rare cases, people at a younger age of 30 are also affected by this disease.

 

  • Family history

People with a family member having a close relation with the disease often show symptoms of this disease. Having a family history of Parkinson diseases means you are at a significant risk of attaining this neurological disease.

 

  • Environmental factors

Some researchers have also shown that long term exposure to environmental risk factors such as chemicals, pesticides, and impure water may increase the risk of developing this disease.

Diagnosing Parkinson’s
There is no precise test that helps the doctors to diagnose Parkinson’s disease and thus it is often difficult to predict the disease in its initial stages. According to the estimates, it is known that approximately 25% of the patients are misdiagnosed and about 40% are not diagnosed at all.
No blood test or laboratory test can diagnose the disease which makes it even more difficult for the physicians. The diagnosis of the disease is based on doctor’s observations and examination therefore it is crucial that the doctor has experience in dealing with such cases. If you are suspecting Parkinson disease, it is advised that you meet a movement disorder trained neurologist.

Parkinson’s Treatment
Elders suffering from Parkinson disease need special care and individual treatment. While availing treatment for Parkinson’s, it must be remembered that this neurological disorder cannot be cured or reverse but the symptoms can only be treated. There are various ways to cure the ailment:

 

    • Home treatment

 

    • Medications

 

    • Surgical options

 

    • Alternative Treatment

 

    • Exercise

 

    • Positive attitude

 

  • Controlled diet

Who Gets Parkinson?
The average age of people suffering from this disease is 62 years; however, there are only 3% – 5% chances of a person above the age of 60 to be diagnosed with this disease. Moreover, men are more likely to suffer from this disease as compared to women.
Don’t panic and let the disease overwhelm you. Get in touch with an experienced neurologist to obtain the right treatment on time and avoid complication at a later stage.

FAQ about Parkinson’s disease

What are the 5 stages of Parkinson’s disease?

Different stages are characterized by different symptoms and their level of intensity. The patient’s treatment also depends on the stage at which the disease was detected. People with the condition do not necessarily have the same signs and complications, however, some common issues for each stage has been highlighted:

  • Stage 1: slowness and slight tremors, insomnia, changes in posture and facial expressions.
  • Stage 2: the shaking becomes more intensive, muscle stiffness occurs, speech may slow down, problems with sweating can also appear. 
  • Stage 3: loss of balance develops, movements slow down significantly, it becomes more difficult to control arms and legs.
  • Stage 4: the patient cannot stand or walk without assistance, speech becomes slurred, emotional strain and depression appear.
  • Stage 5: body stiffness can lead to a complete inability to move.

With such a diagnosis, you need to start treatment as soon as possible since it is fraught with complications due to problems with movements: blood clots can form in an artery in the lung or legs of sedentary patients. 

How can you get Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by an array of alarming signs that negatively affect the life of a person and chiefly strike elderly people. Trembling, muscular weakness and stiffness, slowed and imprecise movement, changes in speech, posture impairment are indicative of the disease. Unfortunately, all causes have not been fully identified. However, it is possible to highlight several factors that can increase the risks of its development and aggravate symptoms: 

  • malfunctions and damages inside nerve cells, for example, due to injury or complications from infectious illnesses of the brain;
  • genetic mutation;
  • key triggers can be other disorders, such as malignant tumor formations, endocrine pathologies, atherosclerosis;
  • exposure to a myriad of environmental chemical compounds.

Due to the lack of knowledge about the exact triggers and reasons, it is difficult to determine methods to prevent it. According to research, its development is influenced mostly by lifestyle, including nutrition and physical activity, gender, and age. Timely therapy can help reduce unpleasant physical or mental features, as well as significantly boost the quality of life.

How long can a person live with Parkinson’s disease?

If the warning signs occur between the age of 40 and 65, then patients can live about 20 years with a comprehensive treatment scheme. If the diagnosis was made at an earlier age, then it is possible to live about 40 years, properly controlling and alleviating all symptoms. Some individuals suffering from even the 3rd stage of the disease, having started treatment in a timely manner, may continue working and being engaged in physical and intellectual activity.

Therapy is based on lifestyle changes, medication, and exercise to restore function. The patient needs good rest, adding daily physical activity, and a balanced diet. Normalization of sleep plays a crucial role. Chronic sleep troubles and habitual sleeplessness lead to the increased production of cortisol, a stress hormone that can also provoke the development of neurodegenerative diseases. In many cases, working with a speech therapist to improve speech and handle swallowing disorders and medications to help control various physical and psychological symptoms are required. 

What are the four cardinal signs of Parkinson’s disease?

There is no medicine for complete curing, so timely medical care is imperative. The treatment schemes are aimed at slowing down destructive changes, improving the quality of life of individuals, and relieving symptoms. Thus, here are key cardinal signs of the disease, as being aware of them is vital to be capable of properly handling them and designing the right patient-oriented and customized medical strategy:

  • tremor and uncontrolled shaking;
  • hypokinesia and loss of muscle movement that can be shown up during a range of daily activities and accompanied by painful sensation;
  • muscle rigidity and inability to relax;
  • postural instability, that if left untreated, can lead to a total disability at late stages.

Treatment strategies depend on the stage at which the patient begins to receive the required therapy and the symptom severity. Unfortunately, drug therapy does not help to defeat the cause of the pathology, but it reduces complications and increases the chances to live longer.